Are you familiar with your beneficial bacteria?

Called “probiotic bacteria”, these are friendly bacteria who live in your digestive system. They help you break down foods, get more nutrients, cut down on cravings and even bust ‘bad guy bacteria’. Good sources of probiotic bacteria are fermented foods (like sauerkraut) and yogurt. You can also get beneficial bacteria in pills, gels or even ‘mini drink shots’ in health food stores. These sources can be used if you feel your beneficial flora is out of balance or damaged. (Taking antibiotics can damage them) But, did you know that these probiotics (and their care) can actually help you lose weight?

How can a bunch of bacteria contribute to weight loss?

Different types do different things, according to a study in “International Journal Food Sciences & Nutrition”. Having a healthy variety of probiotic bacteria is important since various strains can: boost metabolism, help your natural insulin, stamp out bad bacteria which may cause cravings for unhealthy foods, and turning off ‘fat storage’ metabolic switches. A collective effect of helping to digest your food better with their help is also better nutrition, which leads to less cravings, and helps with losing weight.

Keep them healthy:

You don’t want to waste money. If you’re boosting your probiotic bacteria with a drink, yogurt, or capsules, you need that bacteria to stay alive and well. That’s where fiber comes in. If you just eat the capsule and all the bacteria starve, it’s money down the drain. You can’t digest either soluble nor insoluble fiber…but the bacteria can. It’s their staple food source, and if you’re not getting enough fiber at every meal (and when you ate the bacteria booster) your probiotics can be reduced as they’re pretty easy to starve. (Bacteria are tiny—they don’t last long without nutrients) This fiber is called “Prebiotic Fiber”, and your best source for it is plants. Certain seeds, bananas, beans, and leafy greens can all have soluble fiber.

Action step:

If you’re supplementing with probiotics to adjust your digestive system to lose weight, you need to take your dose WITH a good helping of soluble fiber. Then, maintain a higher natural fiber diet as long as you’re supplementing.

Fiber effects:

Of course, fiber does more than just feed the good bacteria, it’s got lots of benefits for you—several of which are also weight loss related. First of all, it takes up space in the digestive system, which helps you feel full/satisfied for longer. Then, insoluble fiber triggers the liver to create something called Bile Acid to try and break it down. This is important because in order to create bile acid, the liver has to use up cholesterol. Putting cholesterol to good use helps keep your levels down. Next, fiber helps keep food moving through the digestive system at a healthy rate. This prevents toxins (from food break down) from lingering in the intestines and accidentally getting absorbed. Soluble fiber hydrates the colon so it doesn’t have to work as hard, and you reduce your chances for getting diverticulitis or diverticulosis.  

Where are the best fiber sources & what to do about it?

Now that you know how the combination of beneficial bacteria and fiber can deliver a double shot of weight loss help, you’ll want a way to get more fiber easily and deliciously onto the menu…permanently. Foods today are made with a lot of refined grains that have had all the fiber removed. Juicing removes the fiber from fruits and vegetables, and eggs may be on the ‘nice list’ once more, but they’re still a fiber free food. The modern diet is also heavier in meats, which are also fiber free. Fortunately, a few adjustments can make the menu tasty and appealing.
When most people hear ‘fiber’ they think of the usual stuff like bland bran, or a hand full of beans and lentils. Peas, broccoli and Brussels sprouts don’t really belong on the breakfast table, either. So what are you supposed to do?

Let the super versatile plant foods be your solution!

Most people select (or avoid) food by flavor…but what if you could use certain low-flavor (or no flavor) foods in loads of different sweet and savory applications to get what you want?

First off: oatmeal. Most people think of the hot breakfast, or the ‘kid friendly’ instant oat packets with jam or candy in them. Throw those old notions away once you discover Overnight Oatmeal! It’s the fruity or chocolaty, or nutty, or spiced solution that you prepare in the blender for a ‘smoothie’ consistency. It can be hot or cold, and almost any flavor you can think of. Recipes for this are just a search away…and there are 100s!

Solution 2:

The Chia Seed. Seeds in general are a great source of fiber, but chia stands out above all others. It’s got so much soluble fiber you can even see it with the naked eye if you wet these seeds. It also has no real flavor of its own. That means that you can use it to add two kinds of fiber to ANY-thing without messing with the taste. Sprinkle on a sandwich, stir into a drink, scoop into a smoothie, stir into yogurt, blend into a burger, bake into cookies, cakes or breads…the list is endless!  Plus, ‘secret fiber source’ is only 1 among the many benefits of chia seeds which also includes calcium, omega 3 oils, complete plant protein, anti-oxidants and more.

Solution 3:

The black bean. This mildly flavored bean is super in savory applications. If you mix in chia seeds and partially mashed black beans into an ordinary burger patty along with your desired herbs and spices, you’ll get a great tasting, juicy burger with much more fiber. (As the chia helps bind everything together in the patty) A little black bean puree in soups and hearty chili is also a good fiber booster.

Solution 4:

Quinoa. This is a mild grain with more fiber than rice. It has sweet or savory applications like serving with fruit for breakfast (cook it in OJ for more fruit fun!) or as a rice replacer in savory recipes. There’s plenty to do with quinoa including energy bites, salads, soups, pilafs and more. Bonus: quinoa is also a protein rich food, which helps keep your energy levels up, and helps you feel satisfied.

Keep in mind action:

Ask “what can I add to things I already like to eat, that will provide more fiber?” You don’t need major adjustments to the menu including lima beans or anything. If you can stir seeds into probiotic yogurt, you’re on your way…it doesn’t have to be a big production, and the internet with its amazing wealth of recipes & articles is at your fingertips to help. The key is starting with what you like, then seeing how you can keep those on the menu, but supplement them with high fiber & high probiotic choices.

With more beneficial bacteria and more fiber on the plate at once, both elements will work in harmony to help you with your weight loss goals.

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